Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond

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For the lapsed Anglican suffragan, see Bishop of Richmond (Anglican).
Diocese of Richmond
Dioecesis Richmondiensis
Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond.svg
Country  United States
Territory Central and Southern Virginia, as well as the Eastern Shore of Virginia Virginia
Ecclesiastical province Baltimore
Metropolitan Baltimore
Area 36,711 sq mi (95,080 km2)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2015)
236,061 (4.7%)
Parishes 142
Schools 28
Denomination Catholic Church
Rite Roman Rite
Established July 11, 1820 (196 years ago)
Cathedral Cathedral of the Sacred Heart
Patron saint St. Vincent de Paul
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo
Metropolitan Archbishop William E. Lori
Diocese of Richmond map 1.jpg
Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond
Catholic "church on wheels" in Richmond, 1955

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond (Latin: Dioecesis Richmondiensis) is an ecclesiastical and episcopal see or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Prior to the American Revolution few Catholics lived within Virginia. Anti-Catholic laws discouraged the faithful from settling in colonial Virginia.[1] It was not until the passage of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786 that Catholics were free to worship openly in the Commonwealth. The Diocese of Richmond was canonically erected by Pope Pius VII on July 11, 1820. Its current territory encompasses all of central and southern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and the eastern shore. It is a ceremonial suffragan of the metropolitan province of Baltimore, from which its territory was taken.

Today there are 236,061 active Catholics at 142 parishes in the Diocese of Richmond. The diocese currently has 87 active priests, 59 retired priests, 115 permanent deacons, 6 religious brothers, 139 religious sisters of Catholic religious order and 25 seminarians. There are 28 diocesan Catholic schools in the diocese with a total enrollment of 12,062 students in 6 High Schools and 22 Elementary Schools.[2]

The diocese is currently led by a prelate bishop which pastors the mother church in the City of Richmond, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. The current bishop is Most Reverend Francis Xavier DiLorenzo, previously the Bishop of Honolulu. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II on March 31, 2004, and installed on May 24, 2004.



  1. Most Rev. Patrick Kelly (Aug 24, 1820 - Feb 9, 1822)
  2. Most Rev. Richard Vincent Whelan (Dec 19, 1840 - Jul 23, 1850)
  3. Most Rev. John McGill (Jul 23, 1850 - Jan 14, 1872)
  4. Most Rev. James Gibbons (Jul 30, 1872 - May 20, 1877)
  5. Most Rev. John Joseph Keane (Mar 28, 1878 - Aug 12, 1888)
  6. Most Rev. Augustine Van de Vyver (Jul 16, 1889 - Oct 16, 1911)
  7. Most Rev. Denis Joseph O'Connell (Jan 19, 1912 - Jan 15, 1926)
  8. Most Rev. Andrew James Louis Brennan (May 28, 1926 - Apr 14, 1945)
  9. Most Rev. Peter Leo Ireton (Apr 14, 1945 - Apr 27, 1958)
  10. Most Rev. John Joyce Russell (Jul 3, 1958 - Apr 28, 1973)
  11. Most Rev. Walter Francis Sullivan (Jun 4, 1974 - Sep 16, 2003)
  12. Most Rev. Francis Xavier DiLorenzo (May 24, 2004 - current)

Auxiliary bishops[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Knights of Columbus[edit]

The Knights of Columbus has several councils in the Richmond Diocese. The Knights serve parish and communities throughout both dioceses in the Commonwealth. One of the best known services is the KOVAR drive which raises money for assisting Virginians with intellectual disabilities.[3]

High schools[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Horvat, Marian T. (25 January 2006). "Let None Dare Call it Liberty: The Catholic Church in Colonial America". Tradition in Action. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  2. ^ "History of the Diocese & Diocesan Statistics". Diocese of Richmond. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  3. ^ "KOVAR". Virginia Knights of Columbus. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°32′50.8″N 77°27′07.7″W / 37.547444°N 77.452139°W / 37.547444; -77.452139